As a developer I got quite familiar with assessing technology choices. It’s a core part of the work. And also very familiar with the desire for exciting shiny technologies too. Which is also important, to be delightful to work with, and to be an avenue for creative exploration. I don’t think we should just limit ourselves to only implementing exactly what is needed to solve the (externally defined) problem. Play is part of it too.
… but … I think hype is a whole other phenomenon. Hyped up technologies don’t just promise new technological solutions but whole new paradigms. They challenge us to change our thinking. To invalidate our old questions and boundaries. They can get us to leapfrog into the next era. A step change, not just incremental. It’s no longer just a technology to solve a problem we know about, but a whole new way of seeing those problems.
It plays on our emotions, as an escape from this boring linear reality, into a new world of endless possibilities. Technology as emancipation. A gateway to our new algorithm-based decentralized blockchain powered lives.
But when we come back down to earth again and try to use this new tool, it seems it’s not actually that useful after all. We already have databases. And who cares what is on a blockchain given it needs to interface with the existing world at some point, using good ol’ fashioned human trust (a recent discussion I read pointing out you can have blockchains for global logistics that can tell you very accurately what should be in a given container, but it will never be able to know if somebody opened it up and put something else inside).
If we start with a good analysis of The Problem we are trying to solve and a holistic strategy to address it, I doubt blockchain has much to offer in almost all cases.
But techno-utopian dreamers are gunna dream, and devs wanting to play with some cool new tech are gunna play,
and everyone else can but let’s not forget we all need to keep shovelling the shit.
How many waves of failed promises of techno-salvation do we need to endure before we become wise and reconnect with ourselves, with others, and with our natural ecosystems?
(phew, normally I just think/write some dismissive sarcastic shit when the word bl*ckchain comes up)